wine on the keyboard

Adventures in Studio Lighting

by Kay~Kacey on 3/16/2009

Never let it be said that I don’t try new things. So I’ve been expanding my interest in photography to include some portrait photography. Not that I don’t love my fun photography that I do here for my blog. I do. But I’ve been working on improving my portrait photos. Which led me to getting some studio lights. One studio light and a soft box. Which led to getting a backdrop stand. Triggers to trip the strobe light. You know how it goes…

Anyway, this weekend I got my “studio” all set up. Yes, well, that empty bedroom that used to house the bunkbed. We’re going to make that room into a guest bedroom (after we finish the kitchen), so I thought I’d take it over for a bit and learn to use studio lights.

First I got out my handy helper–Mandy Model. Isn’t she cute? It’s not like I really ever had a girl baby in this house. So, of course, when I went to get a doll to practice on, I got a girl doll.  She very graciously held up my exposure meter so I could check the lighting.

Eventually after some trial and error, I got a pretty good shot of Mandy Model. She has cute little feet, don’t you think??

Well, then I was off in search of other victims models. SuperGuy made the mistake not being busy when I went on my model search.


I explained to him that Mandy Model had been very cooperative…and I expected no less of him… 8)   So we started in on the great studio lighting adventure.


Here is my setup. An Alien Bee strobe light in a large softbox camera left at about 8 o’clock. A reflector camera right, across from the light. Okay, it’s an old write on/wipe off trifold board, but it works for a reflector for now. There’s my backdrop stand with some remnant gray fabric I bought for next to nothing. It’s held in place with some clamps from Home Depot.


He patiently sat through shot after shot. Well, there was a bit of whining about wanting some water, but hey, that’s okay. Kind of reminded me of when the boys were little. They always wanted water when I was making them do something they didn’t really want to be doing. Like cleaning their rooms. They were always dying of thirst if I told them they needed to clean their rooms.

But I digress…


I was using my cheap lens. My 50mm f/1.8 less-than-$100-bucks lens. I wanted to use my good 70-200 lens, but I just couldn’t get back far enough in the room to use it. I still was pleased with the clarity of the photos.


I think this was my favorite from the shoot. Isn’t SuperGuy handsome?? He seems to have a bit of that shades of orange shirt thing going on too.

Once I master this one light setup, I’m going to learn how to use my speedlight/flash off camera for some fill light. If I really decide to pursue this more, I think I’ll take over the living room (which is a weaving room/stash everything we don’t know where to put it room right now.) It has doors to shut it off, and I think it would work out well. There’s a big front window that I could use for natural light too.

So how did I do? What new thing are you going to learn this year?

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Amy March 16, 2009 at 6:55 am

Wow … those are really great photos! What a wonderful new adventure for you.

Me? I think I might take up kayaking this year. I live on a lake, and my city has too many lovely waterways to explore.

iPost March 16, 2009 at 7:59 am

Very good, Kacey! I like the last one too :love: It is so fun to keep trying new things…it helps keep us younger!

P.S. I know this is weird, but does SuperGuy wear contacts?

Kacey March 16, 2009 at 8:26 am

Yes, he does wear contacts. You can see them just barely in the closeup, can’t you?

Treasia/TruckersWife March 16, 2009 at 8:44 am

What a wonderful group of pictures. That last one is really really good Kacey. Oh btw, the subject you chose is not so bad either. LOL.

mary March 16, 2009 at 3:21 pm

You did darn good, girl! How exciting to be learning something new. Our local adult education center ran a class on studio lighting, and I just missed it! I’d love to learn, though… And yes, Super Guy is handsome. 😉

Amy A March 16, 2009 at 5:35 pm

Look at you, all experimenty! Excellent job, Kacey.

Suzanne March 16, 2009 at 6:24 pm

That’s great!

This year, I’m going to learn to spin!

Kate March 16, 2009 at 6:26 pm

It’s the last one. It’s the best. I liked the way you cropped it, too and added the border.
I don’t know what new thing I’m going to learn this year.

Staci March 17, 2009 at 3:12 pm

I like the 3rd one; and he’s a pretty darned good subject. 😀

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